The Heights is known for its cocktail scene, with the likes of Lei Low, Johnny’s Gold Brick, Eight Row Flint and Better Luck Tomorrow all in close proximity. But a burgeoning brewing scene is fighting for the attentions of local drinkers. One such up-and-comer, Town in City Brewing Company, is tucked away on 1125 West Cavalcade Street, with little on the outside to suggest it's anything but an ordinary warehouse. Having just celebrated their two-year anniversary on August 5, this hidden gem has a lot going for it beyond well-crafted beers.
Driving up to the brewery is a bit of a challenge as the driveway has a steep incline ending in a very small parking lot. But newbies might not know that it also shares a paved parking area with Sola Salon right across the street, so if you’re driving a car, park there. From the outset, you’ll notice a large, kid-and-dog-friendly patio with plenty of picnic tables cooled by fans. But if the oppressive post-hurricane mugginess gets to be too much, step inside to the AC-controlled taproom, a small and intimate setting with TVs showing local sports.
Pull up a stool at the bar and take stock of their beer on tap. There are always the brewery's stalwarts such as Chipped Tooth (IPA); Mosquito’s Revenge (Pale Ale); and Uncommon Cowboy, California Common-style. The beers' ABV percentages range from 5.5 to 7.1 percent, but they’re all so balanced that even the hoppiest, most potent beer, the Chipped Tooth, is easily drinkable. If you find it hard to decide, they do offer flights—I went with the most popular choices, Chipped Tooth, Cowboy, Amber and Porter. After that, they offer 10-ounce, 20-ounce and 60-ounce pours.
For those not drinking beer, Black Hole cold brewed coffee is also on tap, as well as bottled Topo Chico, Mexican Coca Cola and—if you’re lucky enough—some Dublin Dr. Pepper, which follows the original recipe of using cane sugar as the sweetener. They don’t have a token system, but you pay as you go. Nor do they offer a tour of any sort, but the staff is knowledgeable enough to answer questions and talk shop. Rotating food trucks provide the grub on their days open, Wednesday through Sunday.
We were lucky enough to meet one of the owners, Justin Engle, and get his thoughts on the brewery. “Being in Colorado, we got used to the neighborhood breweries. I was living here in the Heights—at the time my business partner was here too, and we were like, ‘Why isn’t there a brewery we can walk to?" he recalls.
But it wasn't easy sailing. There was acquiring state and federal licenses and finding and purchasing the Heights property. Because of the very "town in city" nature of the location, getting local permission from the city to build was fraught. "It took us a long time to go through the city because we were the first brewery to build on the land and the city had all these misconceptions and issues. They thought we were going to try to build a Budweiser plant in this little place," Engle says.
On the contrary, Town in City is indeed a neighborhood brewery, known for hosting fundraisers, running clubs, bingo and Geeks Who Drink trivia events. It's such a neighborhood staple that the brewery won the The Leader's 2017 readers' choice awards for both best brewery and best happy hour. And as for year two? The sky's the foamy, hoppy limit.